Ten-man Gibraltar holds Netherlands to just three
Netherlands 3-0 Gibraltar
Gibraltar put behind them the disappointment of losing 3-0 against Greece on Friday with a valiant display which returned pride to the Gibraltar shirt.
Playing for some forty minutes with just ten men on the field Gibraltar held Netherlands to just 3-0 in Rotterdam silencing a Dutch crowd that had expected more from their home side.
The Netherlands were playing to prove themselves in front of their home crowd after their defeat against France. They were, however, to walk away, even though victorious with their shoulders down after Gibraltar had proved far more a difficult task to break than they had expected.
Gibraltar's starting eleven sow minor changes from that used by Julio Ribas against Greece. Julian Valarino was dropped for Jamie Coombes. His introduction in some ways responding to critics that Lincoln Red Imps players made up the squad. The line-up against the Netherlands included two players from other clubs, Jayce Olivero from Europa and Jamie Coombes From Bruno Magpies.
Still present was Lee Casciaro who had now broken Dino Zoff's record for the oldest player playing competitive international football in Europe.
His presence speaking volumes more about the fitness and strengths of upcoming players
rather Lee Casciaro's own fitness. Julio Ribas, now five years as Gibraltar head coach, continued with his main objectives of creating what he called “automatism" and developing a unit whilst bringing in a youth transition At the same time whilst respecting the quality and experience of the more senior players. His message and objectives very much unchanged from his arrival.
The Netherlands came into the match after a defeat at the hands of France. Ironically, both
Gibraltar and the Netherlands were without a point after their first group match. However, this only
significant on paper as the Netherlands, with their world class players, were supposed to be a “thousand league," above Gibraltar.
The match was a special moment for youngster Niel Hartman. Born in the Netherlands, but selected for Gibraltar, he was among the players on the subs bench for Gibraltar. Surrounded by the Orange army that had turned out at Rotterdam to support the Dutch Hartman was to get his moment of international football. Ribas bringing him on in the latter moments. Where thousands of other players born in the Netherlands had never been able to experience international football, the young player, through his association to Gibraltar and having chosen to play for Gibraltar got his opportunity to play against a nation which had been World Cup finalists a number of times.
There was a minutes silence before kick off for Tjis Stegger. It was not to be the last time that the stadium went silent.
Gibraltar were to find themselves from kick-off immediately forced into their defensive formation
as the Dutch went on the offensive.
Coleing getting his first touches within the first minute. The Netherlands grabbing their first corner
after 2 minutes. The Dutch looked intent on putting Friday's defeat behind them with an early goal but we’re to be denied such celebrations.
After Five minutes Kian Ronan grabbed a loose pass but was soon crowded out as he tried to run the flank, highlighting the type of opponent Gibraltar was facing.
The Dutch had a clear chance at the far post on the sixth minute . Simons' final touch far from that expected by a world class side.
After nine minutes Gibraltar earned a free kick sending players forward but this was not to come to much.
Just two minutes later Gibraltar was again inside the Netherland, half with a long throw and in numbers.
The Dutch counter attack saw the Casciaro earn himself a yellow card as he lunged in to cut the run. Gibraltar once again defending but holding their own in the first quarter of an hour. Frustrating
the Dutch’s intent for a very early goal.
Wieffer was then to send a cleanly struck power shot from outside the penalty area wide of Coleing’s goal.
Even though the Dutch maintained a high momentum of pressure Gibraltar’s continued resilience as they entered into the twentieth minute started to see the crowd silenced.
It was not until the twenty- second minute that Depay beat Coleing to a cross inside the goalmouth for a looping header into the net.
Moments later Jamie Coombes was to recieve a whack in the face, needing some treatment, but with no booking for the opponents.
Although leading, the Netherlands - with just a solitary goal - were under pressure from their own home crowd who were far from jubilant as they arrived into the first half hour. The urgency and frustrations showing as the minutes ticked away.
Into injury time Coleing blocked well at the near post as the Netherlands piled the pressure trying to get a second before the halftime break.
Gibraltar's determined display kept the Netherlands at just a solitary goal into the halftime break. The Dutch players walking into the break with their heads down.
Gibraltar made no changes at halftime. Ribas keeping his trust on his first eleven. The Netherlands started the second half with the same intensity as they had the first forty-five minutes.
Gibraltar, nevertheless, kept to their task, disciplined and pressing to stop the Orange offensive.
It was however, not enough as the Netherlands doubled their lead scoring after four minutes into the second half. The constant movement by the Netherlands leading to a goal from Ake.
His misheaded ball which’s end to come off his back beating Coleing.
Just moments later Gibraltar were to go down to ten-men as a mis-timed challenge earned Liam Walker a direct red card.
Gibraltar's midfield depleted at a crucial time when Gibraltar needed to retain its confidence and with thirty-five minutes still to play.
Jamie Coombes stepped back leaving Gibraltar with no frontman as the gap in a defensive midfield was filled. Gibraltar keeping their nerve.
Gibraltar on the hour mark scrambled the ball off the goal line and then needed to scramble a number of shots out of the goalmouth. Gibraltar's defence putting bodies in front to block Dutch attempts. Just like Julio Ribas had asked his players to do since he first arrived on the scene.
The Netherlands made two changes with Blind and Larssen coming on for De Pay and Wieffer. Ribas finally made a change close to the sixty-fifth minute with Coombes stepping out to
allow Jolley to take a defensive midfield role as they entered the final twenty minutes.
The Netherlands maintained the pressure but lacking the final touch could do little to appease a crowd that many a moment went silent.
A brilliant mid- air save by Coleing on the seventy- second minute adding to the Netherlands frustration. Even though constantly moving the ball and owning the better part of possession the orange army were being blocked valiantly by Gibraltar.
As officials once again dealt with the mystery second ball that kept on appearing on the pitch, Ribas
made his next swap. Young Ronan coming off Mouehli, a change that had been forecast.
With ten minutes left and seven Orange shirts inside the penalty area waiting for a cross Coleing's commanding collection of the ball highlighted how Gibraltar were intent on coming away with a respectable result.
Luck, however, was against them as the cruelest of deflections as Sergeant put a foot out to block Ake’s shot gave the Netherlands their third goal on the eightysecond minute boosting the home side.
Ribas brought on Valarino and Hartman just as Gibraltar saw some luck come their way. This time Gibraltar forgiven for the ball hitting Lope’s arm as it was goal bound.
A resilient defensive display, packing everyone in defence saw Gibraltar reach the 90 minutes with two goals against them, but facing four minutes of injury time.
Even though everything seemed set against Gibraltar, the players, exhausted and face a barrage held on for the next four minutes with Coleing making a number of crucial saves.
Although defeated 3- 0, the muted crowd at the final whistle told it's own story.
A valiant, resilient and disciplined display by Gibraltar, playing most of the second half with just ten men had seen them walk away with what was a respectable defeat against former World cup finalists. Turning many a glance towards Gibraltar.
Netherlands had only eleven attempts although having had 79% of possession.
Gibraltar silencing Rotterdam where many had expected the minnows to be heavily defeated.
As Gibraltar now enters its tenth anniversary before its next internationals in June, the 3-0 defeat against a World Class side such as Netherlands will be seen as a significant signal of the progress Gibraltar has undergone since the early days when heavy defeats were the norm.